Hi, Katherine Curry, back with an ice cream — or rather, gelato — update. As you can tell from this post’s title, I’ve had to go to great lengths to find local, non-chain ice cream spots in White Plains. Small Bites readers, I need your help: on my radar is the ice cream counter at Rooster’s Market (the ubiquitous Longford’s), the gelato at Iron Tomato, and the so-so soft-serve at The Little Spot. Other than that, and Whole Foods, I’m stumped! What am I missing?
Don’t get me wrong — the Ciao Bella gelato counter at Whole Foods is one of my favorite places to eat gelato. There are twenty-four flavors of gelato and sorbet to choose from, including three of my absolute favorite flavors — maple ginger snap, key lime graham, and pineapple sorbet.
Above is one of the only pictures I was able to take in Whole Foods….turns out they don’t like you taking pictures in the store. You can see the nice man behind the gelato counter about to open his mouth to say, “Uh…you can’t take pictures in here.” I’m betting John Mackey doesn’t like it.
On my most recent visit, the store was promoting a gelato tasting from 12 – 3. The gelato counter is right next to the coffee department, towards the back of the store, beyond the prepared food section.
But really, every day is gelato tasting day at Whole Foods– the servers have always been happy to give me samples of flavors. Whole Foods, in their ever-elastic notion of “local”, is also claiming that Ciao Bella is local gelato, calling them “Ciao Bella from New Jersey.”
Me, I don’t care if it’s local or not, I just care how it tastes, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a Ciao Bella flavor I didn’t like, except for their vanilla gelato, which is a little too intensely vanilla — almost medicinal — for my tastes. The Valrhona chocolate is creamy with a resonant chocolate flavor — there’s also a Belgian chocolate flavor, which I’ve not sampled. Other flavors include malted milk ball, mango, espresso, dulce de leche, coconut and blood orange sorbets, and butter pecan.
Even a frivolous flavor like cookie dough is excellent, maintaining its kid appeal without going overboard on the sweetness. In fact, I love everything about the Ciao Bella gelato counter — the gelato is always fresh and stored at exactly the right temperature, the flavors are true and the colors are natural (no glow-in-the-dark green pistachio here), service is friendly, and samples are encouraged. And while there’s no ice cream shop ambiance to enjoy, you pay for your gelato right at the counter — no need to go through a check-out line. Then you’re free to eat as you shop (as long as someone else pushes the cart), or take a seat at one of the booths in the front of the store.
But I’d really love to know about some other non-chain ice cream places in White Plains — drop me an email or post your suggestions in the comment box, please!
If You Go:
Whole Foods, 110 Bloomingdale Rd., White Plains. 914-288-1300. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. every day.